Bear Hunting Permits Reduced After Population Declines

Wisconsin conservation officials reduced the number of bear hunting permits for the 2019 season after data showed a decline in the state's population of bruins.

Bear Hunting Permits Reduced After Population Declines

Wisconsin DNR officials have decreased the number of bear hunting permits for the 2019 season after data showed a decline in the overall population. (Photo: Wisconsin DNR)

Bear hunters will have fewer permits in Wisconsin for the 2019 season after state wildlife officials reduced the number due to a decline in the overall population.

Officials with the Department of Natural Resources recommended to the state's Natural Resources Board that available permits be reduced by 11 percent for the autumn hunting season. The board approved the recommendation, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and a 16 percent decrease in the 2019 harvest goal. Along with the DNR officials, input was obtained from the agency's Bear Advisory Committee.

Wisconsin will issue 11,595 bear hunting permits for autumn 2019, down from 12,970 in 2018.  The quota level will be 3,835 compared with 4,550 in 2018.

Hunters killed a reported 3,685 bears in 2018, which was down 11 percent from 2017, and had a 28 percent success rate statewide. Wisconsin has four zones for bear hunting. Scott Walter, the DNR large carnivore specialist, said the new population model showed declines in Zones A, B and C, and an estimated statewide population of 24,055.

Zones A, B and D comprise the northern third of the state, with Zone C the southern two-thirds. Zone D has the largest population of bears, an estimated 8,759. Harvest quotas were reduced for all four zones; permit availability will decline in Zones A and C, but increase minimally in Zone B to 1,255 and Zone D to 2,440.

More than 124,000 applications were submitted in 2018 for a hunting permit or preference point. Wisconsin's 2019 season is Sept. 4 to Oct. 8.


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